China Shuts Down 20 Million WeChat Accounts For Prostitution
The Chinese government's month-long campaign against online freedom continues with Tencent, the Chinese Internet giant, closing down 20 million of its WeChat app accounts for soliciting customers for prostitution.
This is a part of the government's bid to create a healthy cyberspace and dilute the effect of social media among the citizenry.
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The government wants to stop "rumour spreading" on instant messaging sites, said Xinhua, the state media, according to the Telegraph.
Tencent, adhering to the government diktat of cooperating or being held accountable for failing in their duty to prevent misuse of cyber space, has set a limit of 5000 friends per account
There are some people who have welcomed the move. "Lots of these public accounts are fraudsters, so-called health experts, emotional counsellors and political commentators. Sooner or later they should all be banned," said one user with the handle Shanjiacui.
There are some others who see a broader agenda in the move. WeChat has replaced the earlier hugely popular Weibo, the Twitter of China, which was curtailed by the regime last year. It has now turned into a photo-sharing app and a venue for mobile advertising.
Chinese people are increasingly using WeChat to post messages, share thoughts and look for news.
The government is very aware of growing domestic terrorism and the recent 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre on June 4 has made it all the more resolute to curtail free speech or any hint of political dissent.
Political bloggers, academicians chat groups all are being censored by the government, reports Quartz, a news website
Tencent's WeChat allows users to share text, photos, videos and voice messages over mobile devices. It boasts 396 million active users monthly, much more than Sina Weibo's 143.8 million, reports the Agence France Press. Most WeChat messages are shared privately.